Is god worship compulsory in Hinduism

Do the Vedas forbid the worship of idols?

This is one of the hottest topics from anti-Hindus, especially on the internet, to cause disturbance in simple Hindus who are unaware of the complexities of Scripture. The first two answers, one from Mr Javahar and one from Mr Bharadwaj, give some clues about this, so I will not include these answers. The third answer is indeed a typical question that anti-Hindus like Zakir Nayak raise against Hindus, and this person has copied these things without meaning and repeated the facts to make his claim powerful. Now I am answering this problem.

Quotes like EKAMEVA ADWITEEYAM from Vedas have no connection to ritual performance, the way anti-Hindus try to connect it. It is a philosophical statement that means that the ultimate truth is one and no one is equal to it. The most infamous phrase anti-Hindus use comes from svetaasvatar upnisad-- न तस्य प्रतिमा अस्ति, but they use it completely out of context. At first glance, the meaning seems to be - He has no picture. However, this meaning is absolutely wrong when reading the full sentence, which these COWARDS do not quote out of fear.

The complete sentence is: न तस्य तस्य अस्ति अस्ति न‌ाम महद् यशः यशः The root verb in the word PRATIMAA is MAA, which means - measure. When the words न प्रतिमा of the above sentence are put together according to the Sanskrit rule, it becomes अप्रतिम / APRATIMA. Anyone can check the meaning of this word in any standard dictionary. It has absolutely no connection with Idol. This simply means who cannot be compared, not comparable, not parallel, etc. This word is also used with the same meaning in today's Indian languages. Again, it is only about the philosophical aspect of the ultimate truth, not the ritual aspect. Now we come to the main clause, the object of comparison is mentioned here very clearly - MAHAD-YASAH, which means great glory. So the conclusive meaning of this phrase is that - no one can compete with his great glory, he is exceedingly glorious. But stupid creatures like Zakir and Co., who have no understanding of Vaidic wisdom, manipulate the meaning of the word PRATIMAA of this sentence. And neo / half-Hindus like Aarya-Samaajis fuel this fire. Please read the comments from Sri Shankar or Sri Rang Ramaanuja on this verse from SVET. Until 4/19.

The shortcoming of Hindus is that they cannot give counter-references reporting on HIS PRATIMAA and having the exact same word PRATIMAA because they are discussing without properly studying our scriptures. I am presenting some evidence from Veda, not Puranas, which is definitely laden with such evidence. One of them was quoted by Mr. Javahar from Bhaagavtam. Please read these Senteces with your eyes wide open ---

  • (असि प्रम‌‌ा असि प्रतिमा असि ।-- (तैत्तिरीय प्रपाठक अनुच्छेद ५)
  • सहस्रस्य प्रतिम‌‌ा असि ..। --- (यजुर्वेद १५/६५)
  • Y प्रतिमाम् असृजत यद् y (yajnam) ....।-- (शतपथ ११/१/८/३)

This is but little evidence that directly concerns the word PRATIMAA and confirms that the Lord has it. There is plenty of other evidence in the Vedas relating to the PRATIMAA or media of worship such as stone. Stone is not GOD, he only worships media like fire. I don't want to extend it.

The question now is whether the word IMAGE / IDOL can represent the meaning of the word PRATIMAA used in Vedas. The straight answer is NO. The SRI MURTI used for worship in the temples is called ARCHA. It is not synonymous with IDOL in the English language.

All YAJNAS are PRATIMAA of the Lord according to Satapath Brahamn. Fire, water, earth, stone, air etc. are used in YAJNA. There are different types of YAJNAS. Please read Bhagavad-Gitaa 4 / 24-31.

N Unnikrishnan

The verse in Swetaswatara clearly says प्रतिमा and not अप्रतिमा. There is no way to read 'a' before 'p'. The word before pratima in the original text is तस्य and removing the last अ from it makes it meaningless तस्. Even if you bring न there just before प्रतिमा, there is no way a अ can be extracted from न, leaving a meaningful particle. And traditional scholars have always interpreted the verse to mean what it does, namely that "there is no resemblance to it". See the Bhashya which is in the name of SreeSankara: तस्याऽऽनन्दात्मनः प्रतिमोपमाऽनेन सदृशोऽयमिति नास्ति।

N Unnikrishnan

And other people like Dr. Hating Zakir Naik and calling people absolutely awkward names like "stupid creature" is nothing you can do to improve the reputation of this website or the Hindu religion. It speaks more about you than about him or anyone else.

Haripriya Das

Brother Unnikrisnana! You read this answer with a negative mood. As you indicated - The verse in Swetaswatara clearly says प्रतिमा and not अप्रतिमा. There is no way to read 'a' before 'p'. The word before pratima in the original text is तस्य and removing the last अ from it makes it meaningless तस्. Even if you bring न there just before प्रतिमा, there is no way a अ can be extracted from न, leaving a meaningful particle. '

Haripriya Das

**** I said when you make a connection from न ‌अस्ति प्रतिमा यस्य, it becomes अप्रतिम. And I have given its meaning as: "Nobody is like him." So there is a fundamental mistake in your understanding of my answer and hence the charges are absolutely unfounded. The use of this word अप्रतिम can be found in the verse of Geeta 11:43. Without feeling guilty, I said adjectives for Zakir what he deserves, it is not meant to improve anyone's reputation. I wrote अप्रतिम and you charge me for अप्रतिमा। May Ishwar bless you a good sight.

N Unnikrishnan

"You read this answer with a negative mood." Why not apply the same standard to your reading of your so-called "anti-Hindus"? Now for the Sanskrit part: "I said if you make a connection from न ‌अस्ति प्रतिमा यस्य, it becomes अप्रतिम." What? How? How do you connect न ‌अस्ति प्रतिमा यस्य with what do you do it? You do not do that. Can you quote what sankrit rule by which you can do what you want? Do you add what you want to the font? That statement doesn't even make sense. The word अप्रतिम is of course widely used in Sanskrit literature.